BOISE, Idaho — In response to “stay at home” orders in Idaho and Oregon, Saint Alphonsus Health System expands telemedicine services to comply with social distancing guidelines due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Patients who are self-isolating can still see their providers or get initial medical checkups remotely.
“Our message is simple: We can provide the care you need, but we want to do so safely, and for many patients that means staying at home,” said Dr. Mark Nassir, President of the Saint Alphonsus Medical Group. “We have multiple options for patients to either see a new provider or to continue care with their existing primary care provider or specialist.”
The Saint Alphonsus Medical Group (SAMG) has expanded the providers who are able to see non-emergency urgent care patients via the MyeVisit app. By visiting www.myevisit.org, patients can register and schedule an appointment with a provider in real time.
“MyeVisit is a great way for patients to get an initial diagnosis and talk with a provider about common and non-emergency health issues,” said Dr. Michael Graff. “While folks are staying home, they still have health questions. Going into a clinic or urgent care facility may not be necessary, and I can talk with them and let them know if they need to see a provider in person for a more thorough appointment or treat them during the electronic visit.
Dr. Graff added, “Receiving a consultation with a provider before driving to an office for care can both help the patients address their concerns while also protecting themselves and the community.”
Saint Alphonsus has also increased the number of specialty providers who are seeing patients remotely for follow up in a number of clinical settings across the health system, including oncology, psychology, neurology, pulmonology, cardiology and orthopedics. Patients schedule an appointment and are able to receive a two-way video visit with their healthcare provider.
“I’m able to see my high-risk patients remotely and continue to provide them with the care they need,” said Saint Alphonsus Neurologist Dr. Mary River. “Many of my patients are elderly, and they fall into the high-risk category for the COVID-19 virus. Telemedicine allows me to perform these regular visits, while still following the stay-at-home restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.”
Saint Alphonsus is also using telehealth for inpatient and Emergency Department care, allowing providers to reduce the number of times they need to enter a patient’s room, preserving supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They can remotely talk with patients, monitor vital signs, and perform other tasks after an initial in-person assessment and treatment is provided.
Patients with questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus, symptoms and screening locations can also call the SAMG Triage Hotline at 208-302-2683.